In the US, money is denominated in dollars and cents. We still have a one-cent coin, called a penny.
People tend to ignore pennies, but they have a special meaning for me.
My elder daughter was an early reader and we were always on the lookout for stories that matched her reading ability without being too grown up in content. Her elementary principal suggested “The Hundred Penny Box.” The story is about a child and an elderly relative who has a box with a penny from every year of her life. We decided not to let our daughter read it because no other adults in the book really listened to either the child or the elder, but I loved the idea of having a penny for each year as a memento.
I have given penny boxes to family and friends for milestone birthdays or anniversaries. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My friend and now spiritual mentor as a memento of her 40th birthday sweat lodge ceremony. My college roommate’s 50th birthday. I give a new penny for the current year each year on the anniversary or birthday date.
The only penny box I started that is no longer being added to was the one I gave my friend Angie for her 49th birthday. With a doctor-husband and many friends in the medical community, she was worried about turning 50, knowing that the fifties is a dangerous decade, health-wise, with many serious health conditions cropping up. Because the penny box commemorates the beginning of a year rather than its completion, the penny box for 49 contains 50 pennies. I thought it would be a good way to ease into her 50s the next year.
Within weeks of her fiftieth birthday, Angie was diagnosed with lung cancer, a shock as she had never been a smoker.
She fought hard and we added pennies for her 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th birthdays.
We knew the 54th was going to be the last birthday she would celebrate.
As 2005 began, I wanted to find a new penny to add to the box while she was still alive, knowing her October birthday would not see her alive. I even went to a coin shop, hoping to find a newly minted penny, but it seemed that the mint had not yet started making them yet.
Angie died on March 25.
Later that spring, when I found a 2005 penny, I sent it to her husband to complete Angie’s penny box.
However briefly, 2005, her 55th year, was Angie’s year, too.
This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Details here: http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-2914/. This week’s prompt is sense/scents/cents/sent.
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions